Otto Warmbier, an American student detained in North Korea for committing “hostile acts” has died, his parents confirmed Tuesday in a statement. He was 22.
Warmbier, who returned to America last Tuesday, having previously been sentenced to 15 years hard labor after stealing pro-government paraphernalia from his hotel, had lapsed into a coma before his return. The North Korean government claimed Warmbier had contracted botulism shortly after his conviction of crimes against the communist state in March 2016.
Doctors treating Warmbier upon his return to Ohio stated, however, that they found no evidence of botulism, instead finding “extensive brain damage.” The North Korean government has not remarked on the discrepancy or provided any explanation for what could have caused Warmbier such brain damage in prison.
“It is our sad duty to report that our son, Otto Warmbier, has completed his journey home,” his family wrote in a statement.
“We would like to thank the wonderful professionals at Cincinnati Medical Center who did everything they could for Otto. Unfortunately, the awful torturous treatment our son received at the hands of the North Koreans ensured no other outcome was possible beyond the sad one we experienced today.”